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Editorial
November 2006

Comprehensive Sex EducationStrong Public Support and Persuasive Evidence of Impact, but Little Funding

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(11):1182-1184. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.11.1182

The article by Bleakley et al1 strong evidence that a very large majority of adults in this country supports comprehensive sex education programs that teach about abstinence and also other methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, whereas only a minority of adults supports the teaching of only abstinence.

These results build on numerous somewhat similar surveys that have been conducted for decades demonstrating such support. Indeed, as long ago as 1943, the Gallup Poll found that 68% of adults approved of sex education in schools.2 By 1985, that support had increased to 85%.3 Furthermore, for decades these polls have demonstrated that adults want the instruction to include both abstinence and condoms and other methods of contraception.4 Notably, this support is not limited to only certain parts of the country; similar polls in more conservative southern states, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, have demonstrated strong support for programs that encourage abstinence but also encourage the use of condoms and other contraceptives among those who do have sex.

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